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216 Comments

politics

A New Transit Deal For Scarborough?

Everyone's now re-debating the subway vs. LRT question, but true fairness and sensible transit planning for Scarborough demand that we think about a whole network for the area, not just one line.

Photo by Loozrboy from the Torontoist Flickr Pool

Photo by Loozrboy from the Torontoist Flickr Pool.

EDITOR’S NOTE; JULY 3, 2013: After reopened talks with the provincial government, Toronto’s debate about the long-term future of Scarborough transit is back on. Mayor Rob Ford has asked for a new staff report on the subject, and city council will debate whether to pursue a subway or an LRT at its next meeting, on July 16, 2013. Here, once again, is a comparison of the options under discussion.


The Globe and Mail is reporting that TTC Chair Karen Stintz (Ward 16, Eglinton-Lawrence) has approached the Ministry of Transportation about extending the Danforth subway to Sheppard—reversing course on the signed deal for light rapid transit that council recommitted to last year. If approved by all parties, the shift would mean that a subway would serve the centre of Scarborough instead of LRT.

We reviewed this proposal in January. Each option has its faults and benefits. How should we weigh them?

We need to replace the aging Scarborough RT line. Should we do so with light rail of a subway? Map from a TTC report dated January 21, 2013.

This is not just a question of rekindling interest in Stintz’s “One City” transit plan from June 2012, but of winning over residents in Scarborough.

The Strategic Questions

The politics are simple. Scarborough residents had an inferior technology, the SRT, foisted on them decades ago by Queen’s Park. (There had originally been a plan to build an LRT line, including a potential extension that would have gone as far as Malvern, which at the time was considerably less built up. That LRT plan was converted to an SRT route when the province decided that it wanted to show off an Ontario technology for other markets. Thus the SRT was born. It never got past McCowan Station.) Scarborough’s transit (indeed, all of Toronto’s) would have been much different if the TTC had implemented an LRT network back then. Frequent light rail could have served areas on the brink of development—areas where, instead, riders have waited years for anything beyond a bus. Transit planners would have an alternative to high-cost subways, and the transit network could have led city growth rather than following it.

Now Scarborough politicians, notably Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker (Ward 38, Scarborough Centre), are trying to make up for that lost opportunity by arguing that since North York and York Region will get their subways (the Spadina extension to Vaughan and the proposed Yonge extension to Richmond Hill) Scarborough shouldn’t have to make do with a “streetcar” instead—even if those LRT vehicles would run on a completely protected right-of-way, just as the SRT does today.

This is a wedge issue for Mayor Rob Ford and his allies (though De Baeremaeker generally isn’t one) who paint anything other than subways—subways—subways as a plot by evil downtowners to deprive other parts of Toronto of first class transit. Conversely, if Stintz’s Scarborough plan finds support from local councillors and voters, this could break Ford’s claim on their transit loyalty.

The Policy Questions

Almost twice as many people would be within walking distance of the LRT route compared with the subway option. De Baeremaeker argues that this isn’t significant—that nobody walks to the SRT now, and it doesn’t matter how easy the stations would be to reach on foot. This outlook contradicts years of planning for rapid transit lines that would directly serve people without a bus connection, the bane of travel to suburban rapid transit today. De Baeremaeker himself has long pushed for a new SRT station at Brimley to serve a growing concentration of condos, whose residents would arrive at the station on foot.

LRT Option Subway Option
Length 9.9 kilometres 7.6 kilometres
Route Kennedy Station to Progress and Sheppard via existing SRT corridor to McCowan, then east and north to Sheppard. Kennedy Station to McCowan and Sheppard via Eglinton, Danforth Road, and McCowan.
Stations Seven or eight: all five existing SRT stations, plus Centennial College and Sheppard/Progress. (Ellesmere Station may be dropped.) Three: McCowan at Lawrence, at Progress, and at Sheppard.
Cost $1.8 billion $2.8 billion
Funding Set, as part of signed agreement with the province. Would require funding top-up.
Population/employment in walking distance 47,000 24,000
Projected speed 36 km/h (slower than subway due to more closely spaced stations) 40 km/h
Projected ridership 31 million per year 36 million per year
Projected peak demand 8,000 passengers per hour 9,500 passengers per hour
Transfer at Kennedy Improved with rebuilt station Eliminated
Extendible to Malvern Centre Yes No
SRT shutdown required for construction? Yes, probably three years. Technically no. However, the TTC did not expect the SRT to remain operational beyond 2015 and may have difficulty sustaining it even until then.
Status of proposal EA and preliminary design completed. Construction could start any time, but has been held off pending the Pan Am Games. EA has not been started, nor is there any detailed design. Matching the LRT construction schedule would be challenging.

De Baeremaeker argues that the subway would cost only an extra half-billion dollars, but the TTC has recently confirmed that the estimated LRT cost includes a half-billion for a new carhouse. This is not actually required because the LRT cars will be stored and maintained at a new Metrolinx carhouse near Sheppard and Conlins Road that is included in the Sheppard LRT. The cost differential is now double the original claims—the difference between a subway and an LRT is one billion dollars, not the 500 million originally cited—and who knows what other projects would need to be delayed or deferred to find that extra money?

A Comprehensive Approach to Transit

The most important question for Scarborough is not just this subway-versus-LRT debate; those are alternatives for replacing the aging, unreliable SRT, and we know that one way or another, that replacement will be happening. What’s less clear is whether anyone is thinking much about a larger, longer-term vision for Scarborough transit. Scarborough, like all of Toronto and the region around it, needs a network to serve a variety of travel demands. Regardless of which of the subway or LRT options are chosen right now, we cannot lose sight of the need for that network. It cannot be perpetually delayed due to cost pressures, and we cannot give in to any sense that one line will solve all of Scarborough’s transit problems.


A transit future for Scarborough?


View Scarborough Transit in a larger map

scarborough transit map


Updates to Toronto’s Official Plan are underway now, and the provincial Big Move plan is scheduled for comprehensive review by 2016. These plans are not set in stone, and Toronto should be thinking about how they can be improved. What needs to be added, not just in Scarborough, but elsewhere in the city? How soon should these lines be built and operated, not just be promises on map written with disappearing ink? What will be the cost, and will the city have to supplement the coming Metrolinx investment strategy with its own capital?

Toronto has a long history of planning one rapid transit project at a time, of pitting ward against ward, east versus west, north versus south, in a battle for even tiny improvements. The result has been decades of stagnation and a pervasive sense that nothing will ever be done.

Karen Stintz wants to talk about new plans to pull supporters onside for the transit funding debates. This is no time to completely redraw the map, or to trade off network segments for a single, more expensive option. The short term goal may be to win support for Scarborough votes with a promised subway, but the long term view demands an outlook for all of Scarborough, for all of Toronto.

If Scarborough wants a subway, this should only be the beginning, not the end of its transit plans. Many other transit proposals will serve Scarborough directly or indirectly and they must not be forgotten.

Comments

  • spoobnooble

    As long as a subway extension starts being built before the planned LRT line gets underway, I think a subway extension is the best way to go. But the more we dither on what to build, the longer we wait before ANYTHING gets built. More cars and more roads are not an option.

    • UnknownTransit

      I doubt it. This is Toronto and since it is it takes 10 years to go from approval to construction, were talking about an opening day of 2025. It will take 3 years to get the EA done if it even starts.

      Then the TTC will have an awesome idea of short turning half the trains at Kennedy. Just like how half the train will short turn at Downsview once the Spadina Subway opens. The TTC wants to short turn half the trains at FInch if Yonge ever get an extension.

      • Don River

        As I recall the Yonge extension EA took about a year, so an EA is the least of our worries.

      • kEiThZ

        I don’t get why they’d short-turn trains at Kennedy when the vast majority of riders on a train to Kennedy are very likely heading to STC. If they do short-turn, I could see them short-turning earlier. Like at Main.

        • Why not

          If the projections show 9,500 per hour on that part of the line why wouldn’t they?

          • kEiThZ

            Because I’d suggest that it’s quite likely that ridership is similar immediately west of Kennedy and that you don’t see a substantial increase till Main and westward from there.

          • Why not

            Except you can’t turn back trains at Main and it doesn’t connect with Eglinton. If the above plan also goes ahead Kennedy would still be a major hub because it’s the only station between St. Clair and Lawrence. A train every 5 minutes would be enough to handle the loads during rush hour and would be very roomy outside those times.

          • kEiThZ

            Good points. Fair enough.

          • Why not

            There’s also the option of only turning back during the inbound peak period (like on Spadina) so that people aren’t forced to transfer. You want to try minimizing inconvenience but running full service all the way out to Sheppard (the same 2 1/2 minute service in the core) would be significant overkill if volumes are going to be below 10K.

  • kEiThZ

    As a Malvern resident, I support the extension of the Bloor-Danforth line.

    Here’s the thing. With the Scarborough-Malvern LRT, I’ll still have to bus to the station. And that station will already be half way to Scarborough Town Centre. So in reality, I’m getting a faster ride on half my bus ride. And the time savings on that won’t make up for the inconvenience of the transfer at Kennedy.

    When you look at ridership, it also makes sense to extend the subway. It’s quite clear from ridership that the vast majority of riders are transiting between Scarborough Centre and Kennedy. Scarborough Centre’s ridership is higher than a third of all subway stations in the city. Kennedy’s RT station alone has ridership on par with many downtown stations. It makes sense to connect them by extending the subway. McCowan, Midland and Ellesmere are close enough to Scarborough Centre and Lawrence East to consolidate ridership.

    • iSkyscraper

      How will cheaper surface LRT be built from STC to Malvern, or elsewhere, if the money all went into getting the subway to STC? And without the elevated ROW, how exactly would you get surface transit to STC?

      Engineers have made their plans for a reason. Let them be.

      • kEiThZ

        Did I say they have to build LRT to Malvern any time soon?

        LRT to Malvern was always a sop. It doesn’t really do much. Most Malvernites would still be bussing. Either to STC or to the LRT (in which case, they now have one more transfer).

        Still if the planners absolutely insist they want to serve Malvern, the option to do will always be there. And since design requirements won’t be driven by the SRT corridor, they can run the line on the surface like any other Transit City line.

    • http://www.facebook.com/udeen1 Ubayd H Deen

      As long as the Sheppard LRT is still a go(which it is, has been finalized through a contract), the BDR subway extension makes a lot of sense. I look forward to us in North Scarborough(Malvern) finally getting real transit!

      • kEiThZ

        Exactly. A Malvern spur (up the hydro corridor to Malvern mall) on the Sheppard East LRT and a Bloor-Danforth extension to Sheppard/McCowan will do wonders for travel in northeast Scarborough (Malvern, Agincourt and Dean Park).

  • OgtheDim

    What worries me most Steve is councillors like Benardetti who now say they will only vote to allow the discussion on Metrolinx funding options IF this subway is included and asked to be approved.

    The funding options discussion is needed regardless of what is funded. To use the Metrolinx discussion to get other stuff on the table is short sighted, and IMHO, more dangerous then the comments by the Mayor of Oshawa that solving gridlock in Toronto will not help his community.

    • kEiThZ

      As a Scarberian, I fully support this stance. And if there are councillors who don’t take this stance, I expect they will get booted at the next election.

      Simple reason: Scarborough will get hit by these taxes like nobody else. Vehicle registration taxes, road tolls, congestion charges, development levies and fare by distance schemes, will all be disproportionately paid by Scarborough residents.

      Don’t expect Scarborough residents to support new fees for transit if they aren’t seeing much new transit.

      And to add insult to injury, the fees will come in just as the SRT is being decommissioned. It will be a half-decade long daily reminder for the tens of thousands riding the shuttle buses, of how they are paying for the luxuries of others (like the Sorbara subway). And then a continuous reminder, every time they have to transfer at Kennedy.
      Personally, I do support the new fees and taxes. But, I can’t see most of the population being all that enthused when they don’t perceive sufficient benefit from it.

      • iSkyscraper

        Quit being so precious. Lots of people who never even use transit will be paying for it, because it benefits the regional economy. Under your logic people without children should resent paying taxes that go to schools, or people without cars should resent paying for roads. It’s called a “public good” for a reason. This kind of me-first thinking is what keeps killing proper planning in Toronto. Take the whole thing away from politicians, period.

        • kEiThZ

          And this kind of condescension is exactly why the inner suburbs voted for Rob Ford. I don’t like the guy but I fully understand the people who elect him. And I’ll say this. If you think his election was ridiculous this time, just wait till he gets to campaign in Scarborough telling them that they’ll be paying all these fees and still have transit that requires transfers and streetcars that save them only 10-15 mins over the bus…and they have to put up with 3-5 years of bussing to Kennedy on top of everything. I appreciate that Stintz is being shrewd in taking the wind out of Ford’s sails pre-emptively.

          I’d rather not see Ford re-elected. And yes, I want to see at least some fairness prevail. With all these fees, Scarborough residents will be paying for billions in transit developements. All of that money will be over and above MO2020, which means most of it won’t be getting spent in Scarborough, since none of that new money will be paying for anything new in Scarborough. I think its fair to ask why half a million taxpayers in this city being asked to pay even more, shouldn’t expect better service in return.

        • longtime scarborough resident

          You don’t understand, many people in Scarborough do use transit. Most of Scarborough is service by TTC bus, even the RT will be shut down in a couple years replaced by bus service until the replacement is up. Why are you asking 600,000 people to pay hundreds of dollars more in taxes every year for transit when they receive no improved transit?

          • iSkyscraper

            I never said they do not. I was talking about the big picture. (And most service in every part of Toronto except downtown is by TTC bus, by the way. And the LRT replacement of the SRT is an improvement, even though you don’t realize that.)

            What I meant was that there are many people in the region who will be asked to pay new regional levies who will not directly use the new transit improvements. Everyone will be asked to pay more in taxes and fees every year because everyone benefits when goods and people move through the region more efficiently.

            Pay-to-play thinking is not going to get us anywhere.

          • ThisGuyRightHere

            Downtown can only dream of getting a transit improvement like Scarborough was going to get with the LRT.

      • UnknownTransit

        So does Etobicoke. And there is no plans to do anything in Etobicoke. The western half of the Eglinton LRT got cancelled. Ford doesn’t want Finch West LRT built so nothing is going to be done there.

        • kEiThZ

          Whether Ford wants it or not, Finch West is getting built. Not the whole line as originally planned. But Phase 1 from Humber to Keele is. It’s been approved by council.

          And while Etobicoke did get screwed on Eglinton, they still have the Bloor-Danforth that cuts right through the bottom half of the city.

          In any event, if Etobicoke residents don’t feel adequately served, they are free to voice their opinions and vote them too. I don’t think that their concerns should have any bearing on the concerns of Scarborough residents.

          • UnknownTransit

            Ford can’t stop it but Hudak can. I’m not too sure about Finch West nor Sheppard East LRT getting built at all.

            If Bloor-Danforth is getting an extension, I don’t think Sheppard Subway would ever see an extension. At least the rest of the city won’t be cool with it.

          • kEiThZ

            Hudak will have to get elected first. And if that happens, I suspect a lot of transit planning will change. Not just which lines are built or funded.

            At this point the Sheppard subway is a moot point. It was a political exercise by Miller to kill futher expansion of the subway. Why else did he pick Sheppard East over all those other LRT lines or even the SRT replacement or DRL? And if built, the Sheppard East LRT will kill eastward expansion of the Sheppard Subway. The only question at this point is how will STC connect to Sheppard. Will it be a subway extension north or an LRT spur south from Sheppard?

          • Marc

            You do know the Sheppard subway was a Lastman project, not a Miller project right?

          • kEiThZ

            I do. Re-read my comment. You’ve lost the plot.

          • rich1299

            The first LRT lines to be built were selected based on ridership and the ability to provide as much service coverage as possible. The DRL is desperately needed but a LRT network in areas that only have buses now will greatly improve transit for the most people for the amount of funding available. Its not like the Sheppard LRT was selected for construction in the first batch of LRT lines to end the Sheppard Subway expansion, besides by the point that the Sheppard LRT got final approval by city council Ford had been mayor for over a year, not Miller.

          • kEiThZ

            First LRT lines were selected on ridership? Really? Could have fooled me:

            http://www.ttc.ca/About_the_TTC/Transit_Planning/Surface_Ridership_2012.jsp

            If it was about ridership, Finch would be the priority, not Sheppard. Sheppard East was entirely a political choice to forestall any future subway expansion. Not necessarily a bad idea. But let’s not pretend Miller wasn’t politicking when he chose Sheppard East.

          • rich1299

            If this conversion to subway is approved it will come out of the money that’s supposed to build the Finch west LRT, as has been repeatedly mentioned by the Ontario gov’t there won’t be any more money available for this round of transit improvements. Money raised through the new taxes and fees will be going towards the next round of transit expansion. I don’t imagine people throughout the GTHA will be very happy paying more to see their transit improvements delayed so this line can be way overbuilt.

            LRT can more than meet projected ridership demands for the foreseeable future with a lot of capacity to spare. Plus LRTs will come more often than a subway would, a subway might move people faster once they’re on it but they’ll be waiting longer for it to come than they would for a LRT.

            If they’re serious about converting the SRT to subway then it should happen after this round of transit expansion to ensure that other proposed lines aren’t cut to pay for it and after the DRL which is of far greater need to the entire city than a subway to serve the STC.

            Besides which it will cost significantly more to operate a subway over an LRT in this area, the Sheppard subway requires an per subsidy about ten times that of the system average.even if they build this as subway Metrolinx won’t be helping pay for the operating costs which will mean higher property taxes or higher fares and reduced service across the entire city like we’ve been through with the Sheppard subway already.

          • kEiThZ

            And yet somebody at Queen’s Park is playing hookey with Stintz. If they aren’t willing to invest more, whey didn’t they shoot down Stintz. It’s political. Stintz knows that. As do all the Scarborough councillors and MPPs up for election soon. They’ll all be in the same boat explaining to their constituents why they are whacking them with new taxes that many downtowners won’t pay to build transit elsewhere.

            As for building the subway later. Sorry. Not practical. Invest $2.3 billion now, and another $3 billion later? Why? The whole point of building the subway now is that it will only cost 22% more and will avoid shutting down the SRT and the massive inconvenience and disruption that would cause during construction.

            As for Sheppard, I fully support converting the entire corridor to LRT. Ironically, many who support LRT on Sheppard won’t agree with me.

          • Longtime Scarborough resident

            They cannot wait. The SRT is at end of life, that makes it a priority over Finch LRT. The resident’s in Ward 38 will run over Glen on his bike ride to work if they replace SRT with nothing.

      • OgtheDim

        The discussion of revenue tools is NOT dependent upon the discussion of what to do with those tools.

        To put the two together just makes councillors look petty.

        And to suggest that ANYTHING done 18 months before this election is a make or break for an election bid is a bit much.

        • kEiThZ

          You’re entitled to your opinion and I to mine.

          I do think this issue will be the critical one going forward. Province imposes the revenue tools and you can bet the campaign will be all about it.

          What do you want your camapaign to be about? Trying to explain the benefits of the revenue tools to hundreds of thousands of Scarborough residents pissed about a looming SRT shutdown or do you want to campaign on, “Look I got you an upgrade with those revenue tools!” The narrative most certainly matters.

          Look at Ford. His consistent record opposing taxes and spending at City Hall (however misguided) gave his credibility going into the mayoral campaign. It’ll be the same in 2014. Anybody proposing new taxes better have somehting to show for it, or they are toast, because Ford will successfully paint them as politicians who just want to raise taxes for no real benefit.

          • rich1299

            The LRT line is a significant upgrade over the SRT, not only can it carry far more people than the SRT its newer technology that has far more than just one supplier so it can be more easily maintained than the SRT cars were. also the LRT will serve more people than the SRT. Its an upgrade in every way and will still more than meet expected demand for the foreseeable future with lots of capacity to spare. if they want to throw in something extra for Scarborough than the three new LRT lines it will be getting, then they can add the Malvern extension to the second round of transit expansion.

            The fastest growing part of the city, the core area hasn’t seen any significant transit expansion since the 1960s with the exception of the Spadina ROW and an extension of the Queens Quay streetcar line. Yet its population is growing far faster than any other part of the city and has the potential to continue growing far denser than any other part of the city yet there are no transit expansion plans other than increasing capacity on the Yonge line with the DRL, someday. The DRL is essentially an express subway line downtown for people coming from the east end, the actual DRL will be of very little use to people who live in the city core since it has so few stops but they’ll benefit by people from the eastern inner suburbs getting an express subway line so the number of people on the Yonge line south of Bloor should be reduced so that they can squeeze onto the Yonge line.

          • kEiThZ

            The LRT isn’t a “significant upgrade”. It’s just slightly less crowding than what’s there now. Scarborough maybe poorer. We aren’t stupid though. This upgrade still means I have exactly the same amount of transfers, albeit with a slightly shorter bus ride.

            And I don’t get the incessant whining on the DRL. Nobody has said that spending the extra $500 million here will forestall the DRL or any other project in the city. If anything it’ll mean more pressure on the very revenue tools that most Scarborough residents will be paying. Downtowners should be happy about this situation. It may actually mean the DRL gets built, while being largely paid for by the suburbs. Or perhaps they’d prefer dedicated taxes. Most Scarborough residents would happily see a dedicated tax to pay for projects going forward. That would mean though that the DRL would have to be paid for by downtowners. How many of those cheering on the new revenue tools would be willing to see massive special assessments in the core? I wonder.

          • tyrannosaurus_rek

            “Downtowners should be happy about this situation. It may actually mean
            the DRL gets built, while being largely paid for by the suburbs.”

            The DRL will primarily serve suburban commuters coming downtown, not downtown residents.

          • kEiThZ

            Those high ridership forecasts aren’t coming from suburbanites who will take the DRL twice a day. Especially, since only a portion of Bloor-Danforth traffic will be diverted to the DRL, not to mention additional diversions to Yonge/Eglinton.

            So, yes, at this point, the DRL will be just as focused on serving downtowners as it will be on relieving Yonge/Bloor. And that’s not a bad thing.

          • Longtime Scarborough resident

            You will be getting upgraded streetcars on the queen, king and spadina lines which will allow more people on each car downtown. That funding is already committed by provincial and ferderal governments. The TTC already spent hundreds of millions on new subway cars for the Yonge line. Downtown users have received many funded upgrades in the last few years. Obviously they did not meet the full needs of riders but hey that’s all we could afford at the time, just like the SRT 30 years ago. Does that mean we should continue to focus $$ downtown and not fund projects for the rest of the city.

          • Steve Munro

            Just for the record, the Feds refused with rather blunt language to give Toronto any funding for the new streetcars. This project is 1/3 Queen’s Park 2/3 City.

          • OgtheDim

            You don’t get it. We need revenue tools. That discussion NEEDS to happen.
            it is FAR more important then discussing lines on the map again.

          • dsmithhfx

            And there’s going to have to be some horse-trading, in order for it to happen. Surprise!

          • OgtheDim

            And it is that sort of horse trading that saw Jack Layton reduce streetcars in the downtown for his vote on the Sheppard stubway.

            If councillors want to be taken seriously, they need to stop acting like Bertie Wooster.

          • dsmithhfx

            That train has left the station, so to speak.

          • kEiThZ

            No. I get it. I don’t think you get it.

            http://www.metrolinx.com/mobilityhubs/en/map/mobility_hubs_map/MHP_ScarboroughCentre.pdf
            http://www.metrolinx.com/mobilityhubs/en/map/mobility_hubs_map/MHP_Queen.pdf

            Average household income in Scarborough Centre? $57 000. Average household income in the GTHA? $87 000.
            Average household income at the Queen mobility hub (downtown)? $82 000

            How do you think it’s going to go down for any mayoral candidate or city councillor when they tell their constituents that they’ll be getting hit with all these new taxes and won’t see any substantial improvement in service? And make no mistake about it. If you live in Scarborough or Etobicoke, you’ll be the worst hit. Transit means long waits for buses in the cold in these parts. So it means many families have cars. Which in turn means they’ll be paying Vehicle Registration Taxes, tolls, congestion charges in the core, higher parking charges and if they take transit, they’ll see higher fares in a fare-by-distance scheme.

            And for what? The vast, vast majority of the money raised under the revenue tools will be paying for the DRL (which a few residents will use during their commutes with many still going on to Yonge) or to 905 projects (which many 416 residents many never use in their lifetimes). Good luck asking households who make nearly $20 000 less than the regional average to pay the highest tax burden from these revenue tools while telling them they won’t get more frequent buses, less transfers or a much faster ride to work (unless they live within walking distance of Sheppard).

          • OgtheDim

            You think the Sheppard LRT isn’t a substantial improvement in services? You think the DRL is only for a few?!?!

            That’s where you lose the credibility.

            Meh……you’ve practically hijacked this whole discussion to talk about your one particular thing and you have shown an inability to think beyond your area’s own needs.

            Hopefully less subjective heads will prevail.

          • ThisGuyRightHere

            The DRL is for people going and leaving downtown, not for people who actually live there. It is needed far more than the change from LRT to subway in Scarborough. If you can’t realize that the LRT was going to be a vast improvement over the SRT, there’s really nothing further to discuss.

      • ThisGuyRightHere

        Scarborough was already getting a state of the art LRT! That’s better transit than the majority of downtowners get via streetcars. And the King st. car will still carry far more people than the proposed subway.

  • iSkyscraper

    Wonderful summary. Few people are aware of the original LRT plan for the RT, which would have put the CLRV streetcars on the elevated guideway, perhaps later branching out to various surface lines as the line got farther east. It was a huge mistake when Queens Park forced the ICTS on the city instead. Although Vancouver (Skytrain) bought the technology, and later versions have shown up at airports everywhere (JFK Airtrain being one example), the provincial transit manufacturer was later sold to Bombardier and the province lost interest in their pet project, leaving Toronto stuck with a transit orphan.

    But we now have a plan that fixes this mistake by converting the RT back to the LRT it always should have been. Surface light rail is cheap to build — future extensions to the zoo, to Guildwood, etc. may very well happen if we put an LRT network in Scarborough feeding into Kennedy. They will never happen if we blow all our money turning pretty rapid transit into a slightly upgraded subway.

    Spend money where it has the most impact. If we want to build a new subway line, build the DRL. If we want to expand rail transit to places where it does not currently exist, extend the LRT. But for the love of god don’t waste time and money, again, by killing a solid engineered plan for a political whim.

    • kEiThZ

      Sorry. But you can’t unring the bell. Scarborough Town Centre is now becoming a high density node. The dream of dense mid-rise development is dead along the SRT corridor. As such, other than nostalgia, it’s pointless.
      Heck, just look at the ridership projections. With less people “covered”, the subway extension still has 14% higher ridership.

      • iSkyscraper

        “you can’t unring the bell”. Says the guy who will gladly throw away years of engineering planning and site development.

        No one is saying STC is not a busy place worthy of being served by a rail connection. But given the cards on the table, do you throw money at an upgrade for something that already has rapid transit service or at doing something that can potentially serve many more parts of Scarborough in the future?

        • kEiThZ

          I’d rather build something that doesn’t require the existing 40 000 daily riders to be shunted to buses for half a decade and will result in a subway connection to the biggest Metrolinx mobility hub planned for the eastern GTA.

          As for work started, gimme a break. Where’s the EA on the Scarboroug-Malvern LRT? They’ve done a few sketches. Hardly enough to say that it’s a major diversion. It’s also hard to imagine that they don’t have lots of background work on a BD subway extension that they can’t dust off and start from. Don’t forget that speed of construction is a major selling point for the SRT. They will be doing their best to minimize the service gap.

      • John Duncan

        You do realise that under the subway plan Scarborough Town Centre would not actually have a station? And that the LRT plan would overhaul Kennedy Station so that (admittedly horrible) transfer would be much easier?

        • kEiThZ

          Eh what? Why would the subway plan not have a station at Scarborough Town Centre? It wouldn’t be at the mall. I get that. But STC (as colloquially referred to by Scarberians) is a lot more than the mall.

          As for the Kennedy changeover, that “easier” transfer would still be a PIA transfer that most riders would despise. I guarantee you that not many riders would suddenly be grateful that the transfer is easier therefore the forced transfer is suddenly worthwhile. Also, extending the subway actually helps….southeastern Scarborough. Now the Eglinton LRT can actually stay on Eglinton and service Eglinton East. And they can even extend it up Kingston and Morninside as per the Morningside LRT.

    • 44North

      Agreed, 100%. This is the chance to show what elevated rapid transit can do in TO. Also, extending our subways further – especially when there’s no funds to do so – only puts the DRL further on the backburner.

      But I don’t even know anymore. The debate has valid arguments on each side. I just want to see reliable elevated transit put to use in this city. Eglinton East could definitely be a candidate…

      • http://www.leschinskidesign.com/contact/addme picard102

        $500 Million isn’t going to scratch what the DRL will cost. That’s like saying the dollar water you bought this morning is going to stop you from buying a house.

    • Don River

      Spend the money where it has the most impact and build the DRL — that’s a good one. Miller and Giambrone had $8 billion at their disposal, had zero use for a DRL, and amazingly still saw no use for one when York Region pushed through an EA for the Yonge extension in 2009 and came this close to getting it funded.

      Other than getting elected, Ford is a lost cause and probably can’t even spell DRL, but it’s amazing how M&G have escaped any criticism for making Eglinton their cornerstone project instead of addressing the city’s highest transit priority. And now we’re paying for that transit planning incompetence.

      Let’s actually waste some time and money and have a REAL debate about priorities and funding in Council this time instead of the farcical Transit City debate when the previous Council did the city a gross disservice by essentially rubber-stamping TC. How did that work out?

      • iSkyscraper

        Transit City was an entirely appropriate way to upgrade transit for a large segment of the population. It was not perfect, but it was a reasonable step and a good way to stretch dollars that otherwise would have only built a few tacked-on subway stops. There are many examples in the world of suburban LRT lines working together with urban trunk subways. The Eglinton line in particular has many precedents as a surface/underground LRT, going back to North America’s very first subway in Boston.

        True transit advocates understand that the city needs expansion of subway, streetcar, LRT and BRT lines all working together. “Subways, subways, subways” will get us nowhere in 2013.

        That said, we have invested in the downtown streetcars and are now investing in phase I of suburban LRT. I was talking about what to do NEXT, which will seem to focus on subway investment. In that vein, the DRL should be next, not an incremental upgrade to what will already be very good transit service to STC.

        • Don River

          Transit City was a failure because it completely failed to recognize a DRL as the city’s highest, or even lowest, transit priority. Giambrone said a DRL would only be considered once TC was completed, meaning the middle of the next decade at the earliest (never at the latest). In 2012 a majority of Council agreed that a DRL was Toronto’s biggest transit priority, and in formulating TC Giambrone ignored the advice of senior TTC planners regarding the need for a DRL. By the time he left office in 2010, even after the Yonge extension almost became a reality, he still saw no need for a DRL. At a time when the city had an unprecedented amount of transit funding available, I don’t see how this can be seen as anything other than an utter failure in transit advocacy.

          • iSkyscraper

            I will absolutely agree that Giambrone was an idiot and unqualified to run the TTC, just as all other councillors before and since have been completely and totally unqualified to oversee a transit agency.

            In an era where many cities were building LRT Toronto was slow to get off the pot, and the concept was terribly, simply terribly explained by Giambrone. (And Miller for that matter, who was flawed but still a thousand times more competent than Ford in the role). But at the end of the day I have no problem with an economic and rational network of LRT feeding the subway lines (“network” being the key words since only LRT will be cheap enough to ever expand to the airport, to link up to the zoo and other corners of the city). I don’t tolerate Fordist comments about LRT (or downtown streetcars for that matter) as they typically have no idea what they are talking about. It was an appropriate investment.

            That said, DRL should have always been listed as next once sustained funding became available and I think most of council has long understood this. We can’t allow the Scarborough RT to derail everything when we are on the verge of making the DRL the next project.

          • Don River

            Assuming dedicated transit funding comes on-line, the DRL will be next regardless. A B-D extension would mostly be covered by existing funding, and the city shouldn’t have too much trouble covering the remaining $500M.

            For those who want Ford out of office (like me!), an approved B-D extension could prove fatal to his re-election, especially if (as is likely) he votes against it. Going ahead with the current plan and forcing Scarberians to put up with shuttle buses for 3-5 years is just what Ford wants.

          • iSkyscraper

            The realistic, political side of me hears you. You have a point. The engineer in me cannot agree.

          • dsmithhfx

            Civil engineers build stuff that politicians tell them to, for better or worse.

          • kEiThZ

            Exactly this. I don’t think people yet understand the genius of this move. This is Stintz pulling the rug out from under Ford’s feet.

          • http://twitter.com/geoffdes78 Geoff DeSouza

            Agreed. Ford voting against a Scarborough Subway proposal? It’s exactly how you peel off much if not all of his support. Swing Scarborough (and run someone competent, not AV) and he’s done.

          • Lee Zamparo

            I don’t think you have to be Karl Rove to understand the political motivations behind this move. That doesn’t mean it is not cynical. And there is also no guarantee that he won’t vote for it, and then claim that he personally brought a subway to Scarborough during the 2014 campaign (or next Sunday, since he’s already campaigning)

          • kEiThZ

            I fail to see how the Scarborough RT will derail anything.

      • 44North

        It’s amazing how many people in the outer 416 hate M&G and claim they got shafted on the transit front, when the reality is that they got more transit than anyone else would’ve given them. How the peace offering that was phase I of TC – something that literally covered all ends of the city – blew up in their face is beyond me.

        • Don River

          Really? You don’t see how being blinded by the size of one’s massive ego might blow up in one’s face? You only have to look at the current mayor for proof of that.

        • kEiThZ

          Phase 1 of TC had some very political elements in it.

          Explain to me why Sheppard East LRT was the top transit priority. Even looking at all the TC lines and their forecast demand, that doesn’t make sense. But the SELRT ended up as top priority. I can only think of one reason why: to absolute curtail any eastward extension of the Sheppard Subway.

          Too bad that stunt raised the ire of the burbs and got Ford into office. M&G would have much more success and a legacy if they actually had pursued the DRL instead.

          • 44North

            Nah, the opposite would be true. M&G pushing a DRL would’ve added considerably to Ford being elected than TC. Since the ‘suburbs’ felt neglected by light rail on Finch, Sheppard, Eglinton, SRT…how the fuck would they feel with a DRL instead?!?

          • kEiThZ

            Most suburbanites are the ones who suffer from the crush at Yonge/Bloor. That’s why there’s broad support for the DRL.

          • rich1299

            Yes the DRL won’t provide any new transit for people living in the rapidly growing city core since it has so few stops it will be an express subway line just for people in the inner suburbs. The only benefit people living in the core will see from it is a relief from the extreme overcrowding on the Yonge line south of Bloor.

            All subway expansion since the 1960s has only been for the benefit of the inner suburbs, there hasn’t been a single inch of new subway in the core for over 40 years. Why the people living in the inner core of the city aren’t being far louder about their lack of adequate transit while the low density inner suburbs complain endlessly about it is beyond me.

            Btw I also live in the inner suburbs myself but I don’t expect a subway to my neighbourhood though I’d love to have a LRT, which is unlikely ever to be built in my area in my lifetime. meanwhile Scarborough where most of the whining comes from is getting three new LRT lines yet demands more.

          • kEiThZ

            Blame Jack Layton. Remember when he fought off a downtown subway because he was worried about downtown development? Chickens coming home to roost.

            Sorry. But I don’t feel sorry for downtowners. They have higher pay and home values. They live in a much more walkable part of town with regular streetcar or bus services. And you can still walk from most of downtown to a subway station.

            Sure, they need the subway. And I fully support the project. But let’s be clear here. It’s not downtowners suffering at Yonge/Bloor. It’s suburban commuters.

            There’s plenty of good reasons to have a downtown subway. Yours aren’t it, though.

            As for Scaroborough whining, well tough. Perhaps the province shouldn’t have imposed the ICTS on us, three decades ago. We took it up the six for three decades. Now we’re demanding payback.

            By the way, most of Scaroborough won’t be getting a subway to their neighbourhood. This two-stop subway extension is only going to bring a subway to those living on Lawrence East and STC. Hardly the doorstep of the majority of Scarborough.

          • Lee Zamparo

            I live downtown, and agree completely with kEiThZ. We have it fine here. If the TTC would just maintain service levels on downtown routes while upgrading capacity on the streetcars with the new fleet, we’d get increased service with no new capital investments. Another cheap way in increase service is to eliminate on-street parking for the streetcar corridors downtown on College, Dundas, King, Queen.

            I’m not convinced that downtown needs more capacity, rather we should make better use of what we have.

          • kEiThZ

            Perhaps complaints downtown will be reduced once the new streetcars are in service.

            Though from my read of it, the biggest issues people have with transit downtown is how often streetcars get impeded by traffic. Personally, I would love to see the major downtown avenues become one-way streets with streetcar tracks moved to one side of the street.

          • tyrannosaurus_rek

            A far cheaper, and faster, solution would be to eliminate on-street parking and left turns on streets with tracks. In some places this would boost capacity for cars, and in others it would allow sidewalks to be extended.

          • kEiThZ

            True enough. Like I said, personal opinion. I doubt it’ll ever come to fruition.

            For me, when I take the streetcar, I hate having to step out into traffic. And when I drive, I don’t like having to stop for a streetcar on a busy street. Safer for everybody to separate them and allow passengers to get on/off right from the sidewalk. I’d be willing to trade roadspace for this.

          • Lee Zamparo

            ^THIS!

          • Lee Zamparo

            Sounds great, but the construction headaches incurred on some of the most densely populated streets would have horrendous political and practical repercussions. St. Clair and Roncesvalles provided cheap ammunition to bozo populists; tearing up King / Queen runs a greater risk. Never going to happen.

            A cheaper, faster change would be to increase capacity on these roads by eliminating on-street parking for the more central parts of each corridor.

            Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to see King and Queen mimic Richmond & Adelaide as one way NYC style corridors. It’s just not feasible in today’s political climate.

          • OgtheDim

            Um, the crush starts at FINCH.

          • kEiThZ

            Begs the question what the DRL would do then. It won’t relieve crowding at Finch. And really, with lots of commuters now also changing at Eglinton, even with the DRL, Yonge will still be crowded south of Eglinton.

            That said, I support the DRL. But I do believe it’s too easily become short-hand among transit aficionados as some kind of cure-all. Personally, I believe we need to rethink the system as a whole. I’d love to see the subway network merged with GO and run under Metrolinx with fare and service integration. Similar to how Transport for London (TfL) runs London Overground and London Underground (Tube)services. Then perhaps, we’d start realizing how we really under use the potential of existing rail lines. My relatives who live in Europe would mock the idea of riding a subway for 30 stops to get downtown or trying to cross the city on an LRT, when there are S-Bahn lines that stop only every 5km.

          • OgtheDIm

            Done properly, the DRL will siphon people from North and North East Scarborough.

            And don’t get me started on the competency of Metrolinx.

          • kEiThZ

            It will be a very, very long time before the DRL reaches far north enough to siphon those from the north and northeast.

            In reality, most people today can optimistically, only anticipate the DRL being built till Pape (or thereabouts). It’ll provide some relief to be sure. But it’s not as if everybody will start magically transferring at Pape. The DRL will only make sense largely if your office is near where its built. Anybody heading north or just south of Yonge/Bloor or west of Yonge will still go to Yonge/Bloor. Many will take the Eglinton line and transfer Yonge/Eg. So some relief. But hardly enough to make a substantial difference to any commuter. It’s more removing a chokepoint than any upgrade in experience.

            Heck, integrated fares and services with GO, where TTC buses feed GO stations offering all day GO service to Union would actually be far more transformative for most riders than the DRL. That would actually cut their commutes by 20-30%. The DRL will only offer substnatial benefit when it reaches Eglinton and eventually Sheppard. Till then, it won’t be noteworth enough for most commuters, other than the relief of not having worse crush loads at Yonge/Bloor.

          • OgtheDim

            A LOT of people wan the DRL to go farther then Pape.

            I think you are underestimating opinion to suit your own agenda.

          • tyrannosaurus_rek

            Yonge needs an express line nearly as much as Bloor-Danforth needs the DRL.

          • Lee Zamparo

            Begs the question of why on earth more people don’t push for the Sheppard line to be extended *West* towards Downsview. The YUS is much less crowded on the Spadina arm, so diverting some of the morning traffic to that arm would be a real boost of efficiency for the network.

          • tyrannosaurus_rek

            A contiunation to Downsview is a no-brainer, but it would put enormous pressure on the already overcrowded platforms at St George. Even on days without unexpected delays during morning rush, the platform for southbound passengers can fill beyond capacity – people end up standing on the stairs and even spill over onto the lower platform.

          • Lee Zamparo

            Hopefully this could be mitigated by the transfer to be at Eglinton, and the expectation of many more trips ending at St Andrew and Osgoode, rather than transferring at St George to go east and then south again on YUS.

          • tyrannosaurus_rek

            Adding more people to the southbound-through-St-George trains will reducing the capacity of those trains (assuming not everyone added gets off at St George), meaning more people transferring south there from B-D, or walking in, will have to wait longer (and potentially farther from the train itself).

          • Lee Zamparo

            Can’t be helped. I guess we need some other north-south underground transit? What should we call that, do you think :)?

          • tyrannosaurus_rek

            There’s room for a lot of lines on the map, but in terms of north-south, feeding as close as possible to downtown, the most direct answer is a Yonge Express. The most likely to be acted on, but far more expensive, is a DRL that starts up in the neighbourhood of Weston and Lawrence and ends around Don and York Mills.

          • Lee Zamparo

            I’m all for a Yonge Express that does the Finch – Eglinton – Bloor – Union route, but scheduling would probably be a nightmare. How will local trains be smoothly displaced to make way for this express?

          • tyrannosaurus_rek

            Ideally, the Yonge Express would run in its own tunnels, parallel to (or below?) the existing. (This is never going to happen.)

          • Lee Zamparo

            Bingo.

        • TorontoComment

          These are the same people that complain about downtown being favoured, despite higher per capita spending in the ‘burbs in many departments, despite one-off projects like the Tower Renewal Project and Basement Flooding Project being primarily suburban things. I don’t know if it’s entitlement or innumeracy or what, but suburban Toronto is ridiculous when it comes to its navel gazing and distorted expectations and view of reality.

  • Robk

    I wonder if the rationale behind this move is for one of two reasons: 1) to paint the Mayor into a corner where he won’t accept tolls/taxes/fees for potential subway expansion, 2) a potential kick-off for a mayoral candidacy for the TTC Chair?

    • kEiThZ

      Could be both. And I still wouldn’t care. For many of us, this extension is eminently sensible.

  • Thomas

    How could Karen Stintz sign the Master Agreement contract with Metrolinx in November, all while knowing in the back of her head she was going to try and break that agreement as soon as it served the cause of her upcoming Mayoral run?

    This is breathtaking dishonesty that will cost the taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars in sunken costs if the City goes back on its commitment, all to serve the electoral hopes of Stintz and De Baeremaeker. This is politics at its worst, and it’s almost like a new version of the gas plant scandal…

    • Edward Coli

      What “sunken” costs? Please elaborate. Do you have any facts to support your statement? Why get riled up about this? It’s Toronto, nothing will happen, nothing will get built so go and finish your Ovaltine.

    • scottld

      When that was signed there was no clear messaging from the province or Metrolinx about new revenue tools.

      • Thomas

        Yes, and the Scarborough RT Replacement project has nothing to do with the new revenue tools. It’s being built with money that already exists and is already being spent. Even if no new taxes are imposed, this project is underway and will happen. The only thing that can stop it now is political interference, which is what we see unfolding right now.

        And Edward, no I do not have specific numbers. So lets say tens of millions just to be safe. Still, is that OK? To throw that money down the toilet in order to help out a couple political careers? Contracts have been signed, people have been hired, money has been spent. It’s too late to change this project cost-free. And Karen Stintz knew that when she signed the agreement. Now she is going back on her word.

        Anyone who knocks the Ontario Liberals for wasting taxpayer money to save some seats in an election in the gas plant scandal must hold Karen Stintz to the same standard here.

        • kEiThZ

          I never get this argument. “We’ve started working on it. Therefore, we should absolutely not investigate better alternatives based on new information.”
          You can be sure that if all these councillors go to the polls telling half a million Scarborough residents that they will be getting the shaft with a whole raft of new fees, with nothing to show for it, that there will be a whole slate of Rob Ford ward equivalents elected. You think council is dysfunctional now? Just wait for it!

          • Thomas

            There is no new information. The TTC has considered replacing the Scarborough RT with a subway more than once. They chose to convert it to LRT, integrating it with the LRT network on Eglinton and Sheppard. Without getting into all the reasons why, it was determined that this was the best choice, better than a subway replacement. Full consideration was given to all options. The report commissioned by the TTC a few months ago contained no revelations, it was just the latest consideration of a familiar idea.

            The only thing that’s “new” is that Karen Stintz is running for Mayor.

            But honestly, whether or not a subway would be better or worse is almost a moot point at this stage. Councillors must take responsibility for the choices they have made. All of the following has happened in the last 16 months:

            -Council votes to support the city-wide LRT plan, which includes the replacement if the Scarborough RT
            -Council rejects the “OneCity” plan, which seeks to replace the Scarborough LRT project Council had just voted for with a subway.
            -The TTC votes to enter into a finalized master agreement with Metrolinx, an agreement which includes the Scarborough RT conversion into an LRT
            -Karen Stintz, along with Andy Byford, Bruce McCuaig, and Bob Chiarelli (the minister of transportation), signs the agreement on behalf of the TTC.

            Karen Stintz’s reversal here is pure flip-flopping for the sake of electoral expediency. She just signed the LRT agreement 6 months ago! How could she do that in good faith, and then try to change the agreement only a few months later?

            Like I said, it’s politics at its worst. I am so, so disappointed by her lack of integrity. I didn’t expect this from her. She’s the one who told us that transit plans must survive election cycles. Now she wants to change the plan AGAIN, as soon as it suits her electoral ambitions? It’s contemptible.

          • kEiThZ

            Not just her electoral ambitions. There’s probably another half-dozen (or more) other Scarborough councillors whose behinds will be on the line come election time.

            The likely truth is that none of them anticipated Metrolinx moving so quickly on the new taxes and fees. And now it looks like all of them will have to explain to their constituents during the next campaign why they’ll be paying all these new fees while hardly getting any substantial improvement in service. And they are all slowly clueing in to the reality that people will be seething at the idea that they’ll still be stuck with the transfer at Kennedy after a half-decade shut down.

            Stintz should have insisted on the BD extension right from the beginning. That was her mistake. But I can appreciate the fact that she learns and can adjust her position. Far better than our inflexible mayor.

          • Thomas

            “The likely truth is that none of them anticipated Metrolinx moving so quickly on the new taxes and fees.”

            Below I will quote the Metrolinx Act, passed in 2006:

            “Investment strategy

            32.1 On or before June 1, 2013, the Corporation shall provide the Minister and the heads of the councils of the municipalities in the regional transportation area with a copy of the Corporation’s investment strategy, including proposals for revenue generation tools that may be used by the province or the municipalities to support the implementation of the transportation plan for the regional transportation area.”

            If they didn’t know this was coming, they were ignorant. Besides, I should repeat, the Scarborough RT replacement has nothing to do with the new revenue tools; the funding is already committed. If they have a problem with the next wave of Metrolinx projects, they can voice that concern now if they wish. But the Scarborough RT is not a next wave project. Work is underway, money has been spent, and Metrolinx is doing this work because of a decision Council made last year.

          • kEiThZ

            Meh. Politicicans are politicians. I would bet that a lot of them were hoping that this would be put off. It didn’t happen. And then the Liberal minority didn’t drop. It’s slowly dawning on them that many of these fees may be in place before they head to the polls. And they’ll have some ‘splainin to do.

          • rich1299

            You mean nothing to show for it except for three of the four new LRT lines being built. A full 3/4 of the total new transit expansion underway in Toronto will be benefiting Scarborough. If Scarborough doesn’t want LRT lines I know a lot of other areas of the city where the residents would be absolutely delighted to have a LRT line.

          • kEiThZ

            See my reply to your other post.

            And yes, nothing to show for it. Guess what? Those 3 LRT lines haven’t been built yet. They’ve already been truncated from the original plans. And they’ve been paid for by the province after decades of underinvestment.

            Politicians of all stripes have been quite clear that these tools are to pay for the next set of projects. And in that next set of projects, show me how much Scarborough benefits.

            Like it or not. We live in a democracy. Voters do vote based on self-interest. Your welcome to volunteer for any mayoral candidate with the pitch, “Higher taxes for Scarborough and no new transit lines!”. You can try selling the, “But you guys are getting 3 of 4 LRT lines” and see how much people in Southeast Scarborough (won’t see anything at all unless SMLRT is built…the last TC project) or somebody living on Finch or Lawrence, etc. cares when they’re still stuck waiting 20 minutes for a bus, that will still take them to an overcrowded subway 30 mins away. Sheppard and Eglinton don’t do much for you unless you live very close to the lines. If you live at Kennedy and Steeles for example, how much will the Sheppard LRT help you if you’re going downtown? Heck, if you live in Dean Park, the Sheppard LRT will give you a more comfortable ride but it still won’t shorten your trip downtown, unless you’re willing to incur extra transfers…in which case you aren’t riding the Sheppard LRT for very long.

  • Transitmy

    The challenge here is that everything was messed up 30-odd years ago when the Ontario government pushed the LIM technology on the TTC as a ‘demonstrator’ line. Now councillors are somehow hoping that the Ontario government will come to the rescue with $500 million in additional capital funding (no mention of the operating costs required though) at the expense of other necessary transit expansion projects (like extending the DRL up to Don Mills & Eglinton) or getting a lot of years of decent service throughout the network.

    Yes, the LRT is the best option if this is an ‘either-or’ proposition … but why should it be this way?

    I can only imagine the rapid transit network we could have if we weren’t being forced to recover from the bad decisions of the past.

    • kEiThZ

      We are where we are. It’s even worse now to try and ram through more. The Eglinton Crosstown Scarborough Malvern LRT has the same feel of being imposed upon, from where this Scarborough resident sits, as the ICTS did.

      More top-down decision-making, with Scarborough as the transit lab.
      Talk to any Scarborough resident, most will tell you that they just don’t understand why the subway wasn’t extended to STC. Building the LRT still won’t remove this grievance.

      • Transitmy

        I still don’t see how fewer km of rapid transit benefits Scarborough.

        All this discussion is based on there being no money available but everyone has their pet project or wants their piece of the funding pie.

        $500 million sounds like a small amount of money but it could pay for years worth of service improvements.

        One thing Stinz needs to beware of is that if the existing LRT plan is reopened to debate the merits of a ‘Scarborough subway’ then the other elements (like the Sheppard East LRT) can also be reopened.

        Do we really want to revisit that debate? Or worse, do we want a situation where we have suburban subways but no funding to build the core subway the the TTC really needs.

        • kEiThZ

          I get the slippery slope arguments. But I just don’t agree there are many places where they will carry water. What 905 projects can this really be used on? And the 416 projects where this argument come up? Sheppard and Eglinton? The retort is simple. “Show me the money.” Simply put, this really is a unique case where the cost of going for a heavy rail subway is 22% more than, not a multiple of, the pricetag of an LRT. I can’t think of a single other such case.

          • rich1299

            King St could easily make a subway financially viable unlike any subway built in the inner suburbs, a Dufferin subway from the CNE to Eglinton also makes more sense since the land surrounding it is modestly dense now but could easily be made much denser due to street layouts and residents already accustomed to density. Those are just two downtown lines where a subway would make more sense, I’m sure there are many others. The DRL makes the most sense but that’s mainly an express subway line from the inner suburbs to downtown since it has so few stops and the only benefit it will have for people who live in the core is to decrease demand on the Yonge Line south of Bloor, for a while at least. if they greatly increased the number of stops downtown it could help those who live downtown but who haven’t seen any transit improvement in over 40 years despite the overwhelming need.

          • Don River

            Jack Layton and most other (old) City of Toronto Councillors put the kibosh on any more downtown subways over 20 years ago. Miller & Giambrone were given $8 billion to spend on transit only five years ago and had no use for a DRL. Meanwhile a B-D extension to STC has been discussed and debated off and on since even before the SRT was built. These things don’t happen in a vacuum.

            The DRL will almost certainly be a regular subway line that also relieves Yonge, not an express line, though I’m still not convinced enough Councillors from the core are truly behind a DRL.

          • kEiThZ

            Okay. Then here’s a simple argument.

            http://www.metrolinx.com/mobilityhubs/en/map/mobility_hubs_map/MHP_ScarboroughCentre.pdf
            http://www.metrolinx.com/mobilityhubs/en/map/mobility_hubs_map/MHP_Queen.pdf

            Downtown family incomes are $15 000 higher than incomes in Scarborough Centre (which in turn is higher than areas like Malvern). Since Scarborough residents will be hit especially hard by the ‘revenue tools’, let’s ask downtown residents in a spirit of bonhommie to accept higher property taxes to the same level that Scarborough residents would have to pay on all their ‘revenue tools’, to make that subway ‘financially viable’ (which really is bull since the subway can’t actually pay for itself which is real viability…like what you’d see in Hong Kong or Japan).

          • TorontoComment

            Downtown residents already do pay more property tax, given both the higher property values and the tripled rate that multi-unit dwellings pay.

          • kEiThZ

            Right. They pay more because they have higher value homes. Statistically (according to Metrolinx), they also have households earning $25 000 or 44% more.

            Yet, it will be Scarborough and Etobicoke (and North York to a lesser extent) residents who will pay the bulk of those “revenue tools” out of the 416 contrbutions, with most of that money fuelling transit expansion outside their communities. So the people who can least afford it, will pay the most. And you expect people to support this while most of them will still be stuck with the bus service they have now, same commute times and same number of transfer? If you live in southeast Scarborough, the decision to like the SRT replacement and the Eglinton Crosstown, means you get nothing but a vague promise that you might get an LRT when they get around to building the lowest priority Transit City line….if that happens. If you live on Finch, how do any of these LRTs help you? And ridership on Finch is actually higher than Sheppard. Dorset Park, Parkwoods, Maryvale, Wexford? No soup for you! But please pay your tab…..

            You need to start looking at things from the perspective of those voters who actually live there. They make a lot less. They are being asked to pay 2-3% of gross income in new taxes and fees. And most won’t see substantial improvements unless they live along Sheppard, Eglinton or commute via STC. Stintz has figured it out. And she knows that the SRT has to be a subway just so the SRT replacement wins votes. Simply replacing ICTS with LRT is hardly going to impress anybody (well maybe a few Malvernites who get the LRT on their doorstep…but most of the commuters from northeast Scarborough will still be stuck with the transfer at STC and all will be stuck with the transfer at Kennedy).

        • kEiThZ

          More kms for dollars is a metric that never reflects comfort or how people use the system. Take me living in Malvern. An LRT to Progress/Sheppard will probably save me 10 mins till Kennedy by moving my transfer point closer. But half of that goes in the transfer at Kennedy. Would I trade 5 mins to avoid a transfer? You bet. Ditto for most people I know.

          • rich1299

            It also means you’ll be waiting longer to get on an extended subway to avoid that transfer, besides which every other transit rider in the city has to make multiple transfers to get where they’re going, unless its on the same road. I don’t see what makes residents of Scarborough so much better than everyone else in the city that they shouldn’t have to transfer on transit. Then again they are getting 3 out of the 4 new LRT lines so why not even more?

          • kEiThZ

            Why I would be waiting longer to get on that extended subway? And even if I were, why would it really matter? You underestimate the comfort value of one less transfer and how seriously annoyed most people are at that transfer. Heck, even the TTC got it. They were willing to completely rebuild Kennedy at one point to make the transfer easier. That should tell you something.

            3 out of 4 LRT lines? So what? Do you have any clue how geographically big Scarborough is and what poor coverage the Rapid Transit network has there today? This is making up for decades of underinvestment. And yet, even after all these investments, many won’t benefit. An Eglinton line that turns north at Kennedy will do nothing at all for southeastern Scarborough (Rouge Hill, Guildwood, West Hill). Sheppard really won’t do all that much if you live south of the 401 or along Finch. And how much does the LRT to Malvern help you if you live in say Dean Park? You’ll still be bussing to the LRT or even right to STC.

          • Lee Zamparo

            Dwell time has often been shown to be the most noticeable and frustrating part of people’s commute. So reducing dwell time is a good way of increasing people’s perceived satisfaction with transit.

  • http://www.facebook.com/PositiveNRG Christopher King

    Let is be honest here. Although the difference price wise between the 2 systems is $.5 billion dollars, Toronto is going to fuck this up the same they did the new Leslieville facility, which has unfathomable blossomed from $40 million to $800 million.
    Personally, I think it’s high time we put the people responsible for these fiascoes against the wall of a firing range and have done with them

    • dsmithhfx

      Let me guess: you volunteer to head up the next mega-project, and if when it goes sideways thanks to meddling politicians and all sorts of other stuff you never even imagined, you volunteer to face a firing squad?

    • Steve Munro

      Leslieville has not blossomed to $800m, and it didn’t start at $40m.

    • YoungMinds

      Leslie barns started closer to $300mil and has risen in cost to aboit $450mil due to other city infrastructure works being added to the project. Ripping up road for new sewers and hydro counduits isnt cheap

  • dsmithhfx

    A small price to pay in order to finally ditch Ford.

    • kEiThZ

      Exactly. If Stintze delivers on this, she’ll take Scarborough. And Ford will be finished.

      • Antinephalist

        If this happens Ford will immediately claim credit and his supporters will agree with him.

        • Don River

          Not if he votes against it.

          • http://twitter.com/andrewtraviss Andrew Traviss

            Are you seriously making the claim that politicians won’t take credit for things they voted against if they happen to work out?

          • kEiThZ

            And he’d have no credibility with that claim…..

          • Lee Zamparo

            Unless he and his minions push to cut 500 million dollars worth of other LRT projects to fund this conversion. This is a dangerous political gamble, not a slam dunk…

        • dsmithhfx

          Ford will never, ever vote to raise taxes. If he ever did, Ford nation would evaporate like a fart.

        • kEiThZ

          And he’ll have no credibility. Every single one of his opponets can run ads or blanket Scarborough with flyers reminding residents that Ford voted against a subway in Scarborough.

          • Antinephalist

            He had no credibility concerning his transit promises the first time around and plenty of people believed him then, didn’t they?

      • Lee Zamparo

        I still don’t understand why you think Ford will be finished. Say Stintz, De Baeremaeker and co get their way. What makes you think it will be contingent on council approving revenue tools? What’s stopping Ford & co from just pushing to cancel other currently funded LRT projects? Once the master agreement is opened up for one change, what’s to say Ford will not push for money to be redirected to the subway refit option, at the expense of the Finch LRT or Sheppard East LRT extension? I don’t think this is a slam dunk by any means.

        • kEiThZ

          Good points to be sure. But I figure it’ll all be one motion stating something to the effect that if Metrolinx is pursuing additional revenue, that Toronto’s share be directed towards upgrading the RT replacement to a subway.

          With one motion, Ford would be in a mind. Voting for it would be an implicit acceptance of the ‘revenue tools’. Something Ford Nation would never tolerate. Voting against the motion would make for great fodder in Scarborough for his opponents.

          People keep thinking this will be some full-blown negotiation. I just don’t think it will be. It will be a very specific motion tying the proposed revenue tools to the Scarborough subway. Ford won’t have the votes to open up the whole thing and start messing with the whole master agreement.

          • Lee Zamparo

            I really, really hope that the coalition on council which pushes for this special meeting can frame the discussion as you envision it. You can bet that Ford and co. will do their best to sway discussion so that they can be seen to fight new taxes, and get the Scarborough subway in the works, feeding into the (rather dubious) ‘promises made, promises kept’ election slogan. This guy may be completely incompetent as an administrator and manager, but he (or his Kouvalis hive mind) is a shrewd populist and campaigner.

          • kEiThZ

            I’m an optimist. Let’s hope it works out.

  • Anon.

    Why does the downtown relief line come so close to forming a transfer point on the Bloor line and then stop short?

    • Don River

      Map is wrong. DRL would likely meet Bloor at Pape Station.

    • Steve Munro

      The map was only formatted for the portion that shows in the window, and was not intended to scroll down to Danforth.

  • George Bell

    We’re getting into the situation we always get into…we spend years planning and doing studies…and then it always comes down to horse-trading in the end…it’s Jack Layton/Mel Lastman all over again…

    If this gets re-opened everything is up for grabs again, and we’ll have to go through a whole new EA process…

    At this point I wouldn’t be surprised if somehow someone comes up with a deal that the taxes get approved but eglington gets cancelled and we end up with a subway to muskoka…completely foolish…

    • kEiThZ

      Why would it be a whole new EA process? Have they even started one for the LRT plan?

      • OgtheDim

        Yes, but not the subway, which can not follow the SRT.

  • UnknownTransit

    I’m pretty sure the cost of the subway would go up exponentially. I’m not sure how the LRT conversion got to $2.3 billion. If it was cheaper I think it would be great, but it’s quite pricey for putting the SRT underground at Kennedy, extending to Sheppard, rebuilding the line and getting some new trains.

    LRT should be much cheaper, that’s what bought the idea up. If it’s 85% of a subway, something is wrong with the design.

    • Steve Munro

      The LRT plan includes fleet for the line plus part of Sheppard/Conlins carhouse. The subway uses surplus T-1 trainsets that will be displaced from Yonge and exceed the number of trains now needed on B-D. The subway carhouse already exists.

  • Michael Forest

    If the Scarborough Subway helps to win support for new transit taxes, then perhaps it is worth doing.

  • Michael Forest

    Although I mostly agree with the comparative table given by Steve Munro in the main text, I’d like to add three minor notes in favor of the subway option:

    1) The subway will have a much more useful connection to Sheppard. The SLRT extension would connect to Sheppard too far east.

    2) Although the subway is not directly extendible to Malvern Centre, a surface LRT or BRT branch along Sheppard and Neilson can be easily added.

    3) One more subway station may be added at Eglinton and Brimley. It is not in the current subway plan, but would make a lot of sense.

    On the other hand, one disadvantage of the subway option is the loss of rail connection to Centennial College.

    • kEiThZ

      Centennial College isn’t important enough to drive planning for the entire northern and eastern end of Scarborough. And if is that important. A simple streetcar line down Progress could take care of it.

    • TorontoComment

      Given Toronto’s recent attempts to build LRT, or anything, I don’t think it’s even remotely accurate to say “a surface LRT… can be easily added.” Nothing comes easy in Toronto, when it comes to transit.

      • dsmithhfx

        Multi-billion $$$ projects don’t come easy anywhere, and the potential for screwups is mind-bogglingly huge. But, doing nothing is no longer an option — we have literally run out of road.

  • http://twitter.com/oncemore30 William Paul

    Steve, he has a point ” De Baeremaeker argues that this isn’t significant—that nobody walks to the SRT now, and it doesn’t matter how easy the stations would be to reach on foot. ” He’s right!
    As it stands now, how many people WALK to ANY of the RT Stations? not bus, but actually walk the the RT ? Elles?, Mid? LawEast? McC? (probably more to McCowan than any of them)The answer is virtually NOBODY! walks to the RT.
    The question as I see it is, is it proper to spend on network now when it is not needed or not? Network will be great 80 years from now. No need to put it in place now. Thank God nobody built to Malvern in the 80′s. What a waste that would have been.Right now it is well served by bus routes and if you choose to live out there so be it, but expect a lengthy commute. And no, it is not altogether cheaper to live up there……. I also think UTSC is a non-issue. My kid goes there from the beach and UTSC is well served right now. Quick 38 ride to the RT or even quicker 116Express ride to Kennedy. decent service and not overly crowded. It always should have been a subway extension in the first place.

    • kEiThZ

      This is what people don’t get. You rarely see people walking to the station. They are either bussing there or getting dropped off. SC and McCowan may be the only exceptions to that rule. And that will still be the case even if a subway station was built on McCowan.

      It is precisely because of this that the LRT doesn’t make sense to most people. You’re still stuck with the annoying transfer at Kennedy. And even as a Malvernite, it won’t help much. My ride would be exactly the same as it is now: bus > SRT > BD. The only change would be the proportions of that ride.

      • Steve Munro

        The comment about walk-ins addresses the claim that only the subway will attract new development. People in those developments would want to live there precisely to be walk-ins to the subway. De Baeremaeker himself has lobbied for a Brimley Station so that folks in condos there would have a shorter walk to the RT than schlepping to STC. It’s the inconsistency I was commenting on — make stations nearby when it suits De B politically, ignore walk-ins when it doesn’t.

        • kEiThZ

          Right. But a lot of those walk-ins will still be captured by an STC subway station. Though I will agree, you might lose a bit at the margins (near Brimley) and the walk-ins at Midland and Ellesmere.

          But overall, there are still 5 million more riders annually. That’s not a bad trade-off.

          • Steve Munro

            It would be interesting to see a comparison that included the Malvern LRT extension of the Scarborough line. I suspect the difference in ridership between the two schemes would vanish.

          • kEiThZ

            Sheppard/Progress would capture a lot of the Malvern area. Extending to Malvern Town Centre will add ridership. I wouldn’t bet on it adding 5 million more riders though. 13 700 extra pax a day? I sincerely doubt it.

        • dsmithhfx

          Consistency can be bad…

  • tyrannosaurus_rek

    So we’re looking at another total reset on transit planning and discussion here, right? I mean once this inevitably spools out and everything previously agreed to it put back on the table.

    • OgtheDim

      Yes, which is why this is not going to end well.

      And all so we can have a discussion on revenue tools.

      • Transitmy

        I used to thimk that Toronto’s transit problems started and ended with the Ontario government. Now I know that council has had more than its fair share

        • http://twitter.com/andrewtraviss Andrew Traviss

          The reason the transit debate in Toronto is so divided is that Torontonians are so divided on the subject. Blaming politicians for accurately representing their constituents is a waste of time.

          • tyrannosaurus_rek

            It shouldn’t be a matter of popularity whether or not a particular route or ward has the numbers needed to sustain a given mode of transit.

          • dsmithhfx

            That’s the natural outcome of ward-based representation. It would help to have some percentage of councilors elected at large.

          • Eric S. Smith

            Ward-based or at large, there will always be votes in pandering to regional resentments, as the one member of council already elected at large proves.

      • dsmithhfx

        I think it has to be framed as a deal, rather than a ‘discussion’: subway replacement of SRT (no less, no more), + revenue tools. Either/or ain’t gonna happen.

        • Lee Zamparo

          Let’s hope that when this special council meeting happens, the discussion is framed as such. Otherwise it’s a big risk.

    • kEiThZ

      How is a discussion about one project a “total reset”?

      • rich1299

        Because if this subway line goes through then people on Sheppard will start complaining too and that will be re-opened then will be back to debating whether the Eglinton LRT should underground the whole line or just in the areas where there’s too little surface room for the LRT to have a ROW as it is now, Finch west will again be sacrificed, after all the people using that line tend to be among the poorest in the city and don’t have the time or resources to complain to their councillor like others in Scarborough do.

        • kEiThZ

          Once again. Slippery slope argument is just not relevant. A subway replacement for SRT is 22% more. A subway on Sheppard is several multiples the cost of the LRT. There is no case for the subway on Sheppard that would allow for a slippery slope into an open debate.

          • Lee Zamparo

            Rational arguments like that have surprisingly little traction once they get to council.

          • kEiThZ

            I agree. But it won’t matter. It’s what they can pay for. And Ford and company just don’t have a funding strategy that’s sufficient to convince the rest of council to jump onboard. So I don’t see the Sheppard subway suddenly getting into the mix.

          • Lee Zamparo

            They might counter with Mammoliti’s casino boat.

      • OgtheDim

        Cause we’ve had this whole discussion before.

        • kEiThZ

          And nothing prevents us from having this discussion again. Especially now that there’s money on the table. Conversely, you can try and tell Scarborough residents that they’ll all every household will be paying a grand more in taxes and they’ll be getting absolutlely nothing additional for it. See how well that goes down. The councillors proposing this seem to understand this.

          • OgtheDim

            Yes, a WHOLE lot prevents us from having this discussion again. The city signed an agreement with the Province on this. We’ve had this discussion already. Its done and dusted. Just because your particularly preferred project is being discussed is not enough of a reason to attempt to reopen something that council has already discussed.

            And, about that Scarborough thing you keep on about.

            The DRL will mostly help people in Scarborough.
            Have you ever taken a 39 Finch bus or 55 Steeles into Finch station? Or an Ellesmere into York Mills? Done properly, a DRL would help alleviate a lot of the travel of the people from North East Scarborough.

            The idea that people from Scarborough will not be assisted by the rest of the Big Move unless they get subway service to STC is wrong headed.

            A

          • kEiThZ

            What’s your point? I’ve taken the 39 and 95 to Yonge plenty of times.

            Explain to me how a DRL to Pape will help any commuter along Yonge, getting on at a point north of Bloor. Keep in mind, at this point, we are talking about a Don Mills LRT at some point in the future. A DRL up Don Mills is still the stuff of fantasy.

          • OgtheDim

            Cause the DRL WILL go past Pape. Its not fantasy. Only downtown councillors have suggested it stop at Pape. Anybody actually studying it has suggested at least Don Mills and Eg.

          • kEiThZ

            Not in Metrolinx’s plans. And the City has never had plans to pay for it. Can you show me a single document that shows a firm commitment by any party to build the DRL past Pape? And heck, one upon a time, they had talked about extending the subway from Kennedy to STC. Then they built a little ICTS train known as the Scarborough RT instead. Ergo, why should anybody not ask for something now on the foggiest notion that some fantasy idea might possible be entertained by the time they retire and don’t need to commute anymore? And even then, will $500 million make any difference to any DRL north of Pape at all? Might buy one stop I guess…..

          • dsmithhfx

            This isn’t an all-or-nothing, take-no-prisoners kind of proposal to undermine the entire existing funding agreement — unless your name is Rob Ford (let’s assume it isn’t).

            This is a quid pro quo that is glaringly simple, so simple even Ford Nation can get their stunted little minds around it, and that’s exactly how it’s going to do in Rob Ford.

            1. Council identifies preferred new funding sources dedicated to transit — taxes, fees , whathaveyou and implicitly endorses them.

            2. The funding agreement is amended, so that the SRT is replaced by a subway extension, rather than LRT.

            No more, no less.

          • Lee Zamparo

            Let’s hope those same voters don’t elect more PC candidates in the looming provincial election, thereby scuttling any new transit anywhere for (yet more) years to come.

          • dsmithhfx

            In politics, symbolism nearly always trumps rationalism. Anyone who doesn’t get that has seriously misunderestimated the appeal of Rob Ford and his ilk. Here we have an opportunity to heal the divisive and destructive rift between downtown and suburbs, through an eminently sensible trade-off. The opportunity will not last long. Folks of good will, please, do not take Ford’s side in trying to stall or derail it, but instead, contribute something constructive to an imperfect solution. The symbols can all be manipulated in various ways to obtain a better result.

          • kEiThZ

            Thank you. Finally, someone who gets it.

            I don’t get people who think that anybody is for a modest subway extension is automatically for Ford. That just sets up an us vs. them mentality. And that’s a particularly odd tactic for downtowners to push, when they don’t have the numbers on their side.

            This is a brilliant move by Stintz to break Ford in Scarborough. Not just Ford. She may break Hudak in the 416 as well.

          • tyrannosaurus_rek

            The us-vs-them mentality at council level isn’t pushed by downtowners, it’s pushed by the inner suburbs and Ford.

            And it’s an odd tactic for you to comment on said mentality when you’re pushing a Scarborough-vs-everyone when it comes to these new transit revenues. I guess Scarborough residents never leave that part of the city and couldn’t possibly benefit from transit that doesn’t stop right at their door.

          • kEiThZ

            No. The us-vs-them mentality is a direct result of adopting a doctrinaire approach to transit that insists that there will never be a case for any subway expansion anywhere in a suburb. Of course, the insistence of Ford and his allies that only subways are acceptable is equally boneheaded. I don’t dispute that for a second.

            But look at the reaction to this debate. You have a former TTC Chair, 9 of 10 Scarborough councillors, and a former provincial leader backing the change to subway. It will only be 22% more. There is no other analogous situation where the difference between a subway and LRT is this close. And yet some feel, that no flexibility is called for or that somehow $500 million on this will imperil the $8 billion DRL.

            As for the constant tripe about “subway at their door”. I still don’t get it. How does a two-stop subway extension bring a subway to most doors in Scarborough? Explain this line of attack to me. Cause I don’t get it.

          • tyrannosaurus_rek

            No such doctrinaire approach exists. The only subway expansion the city has seen in the last four decades have been in the inner suburbs. There are no vocal champions of a downtown-first or downtown-only subway agenda on Council. The only recent subway-related agitation on council has come from Ford and other ‘burb councillors demanding subways where the ridership numbers and budget do not justify them. Even in this recent salvo from Stintz (again, an inner suburban councillor) there isn’t a clearly strong numbers and budget case to support it, but numerous arguments and cautions against it that have nothing to do with anti-suburb mentality.

            In numerous comments in this thread you’ve asserted that Scarborough residents will not stand for new taxes/fees that don’t immediately benefit them with Scarborough-based (“right at their door”) transit expansions. This is us-vs-them pushed from an inner suburb on the rest of the city, the opposite of what you claimed was the problem. And if (as you say) Scarborough residents aren’t willing to pay for something that benefits the entire city (including those whose commute starts in Scarborough but ends elsewhere) because it “isn’t in Scarborough”, it’s hypocritical to complain if downtowners (or residents of other areas) don’t jump to support something that’s “only in Scarborough”.

          • kEiThZ

            I hope I’m not confusing to you. I do, fully support the DRL and do believe it should be a priority. But I also fully understand the frustration of my neighbours. But I still fail to see how this an “us vs. them” viewpoint or as you assert an unwillingness to “pay for something that benefits the entire city”. Several problems with that argument. To start with, any transit anywhere benefits the whole city. It’s just that some will benefit more than others. The DRL will most certainly not benefit the whole city. It will largely benefit those who live downtown and a specific subset of those riders who commute downtown from the east. The DRL won’t help one iota if you are commuting from the north or west. Next, by your rationale, the BD extension also helps the whole city. It just helps Scarborough residents more. Lastly, how is any of this an unwillingness to not help the rest of the city out? The 650 000 residents who live in Scarborough will be paying these new revenue tools at far higher rates than any downtown resident for decades to come. Whatever they pay will more than surpass the $500 million that will be spent to get a BD extension (Scarborough alone will probably be paying at least $200 million per year if you take a crude projection). All those additional funds are going to into the regional pool of which Scarborough will see very little benefit. What’s going to be built other than the SELRT, Eglinton and SRT replacement? The SMLRT is a very long time away. So the reality is that Scarborough, for most the next 25 years will be paying entirely for projects elsewhere. Asking for 2-3 years of those funds to be spent inside Scarborough is hardly the height of selfishness you make it out to be.

          • tyrannosaurus_rek

            You do confuse me. You’re contradicting yourself and ascribing to me claims that you made.

          • kEiThZ

            Could you be more specific? I’ll clarify myself to specific questions you have.

          • Lee Zamparo

            I hope you’re right.

          • TorontoComment

            Have you even looked at the plan? Scarborough is getting the Eglinton LRT, the Sheppard East LRT, the Scarborough RT LRT replacement, Lakeshore East electrification and all day service, McCowen and Scarborough-Malvern BRT/LRT, the benefits of improved trips to downtown via the DRL, etc. Talk about entitlement, calling that “nothing”.

          • kEiThZ

            Call it what you want. Ultimately, all politics is local. Try explaining to a Rouge Hill resident that if they pay these taxes now, they might (in 20 years) see an LRT down Morningside.

            Again, these LRTs come after decades of underinvestment. The entire sum of the rapid transit network for the 650 000 people who live in Scarborough today consists of 3 subway stations and 6 RT stations. Heck, there’s not a single rapid transit stop in the entire northern half of the city. So yes, this is a downpayment.

            Your analogy is akin to givin a starving man a single slice of bread and insisting that he be utterly grateful for you helping him live in luxury.

          • TorontoComment

            The simple fact is that under the Big Move, Scarborough is scheduled benefit from many projects. You may feel like it’s not enough, but it’s outright lying to say it’s nothing. So you have to ask yourself: are you a liar, or do you want to have a real conversation?

          • kEiThZ

            Start the attacks if you want. I won’t respond in kind. I am interested in an honest debate.

            Good day.

          • TorontoComment

            I’m simply tired of all sides of this issue spreading untruth. It makes it hard to move the conversation forward, and it means constantly having to retread the same ground. Can we not all agree to do our best to stick to the facts? Certainly at some points we’ll all make mistakes, and that is forgivable, but we should at least try to discuss in good faith, should be not?

          • dsmithhfx

            It’s safe to say that everyone is tired of this discussion (with the possible exception of kEITHz), and gun-shy of the inaction and procrastination it historically represents. Yet critical mass and momentum seems to be gathering with remarkable speed around a so far unprecedented political accord between downtown and suburbs. I don’t think that can, or should, be easily dismissed. I hope it isn’t. The historical “facts” are pretty murky. This is not the time to nurse old resentments but to listen, and entertain the possibility: I want this so bad, I’ll give up that to get it.

  • IB

    While I think that purely on transit merits the LRT plan is better, a BD extension is reasonable price to pay to defeat Ford and win Scarborough over for revenue tools. The only condition I would put: this had better not delay the start and opening of the DRL by a single day.

  • http://www.facebook.com/MACWCROSE Maria Angel Consuegra Rose

    please build LRT Option asap !

  • TomLuTon

    Probably should leave a roughed in space for a future station at Brimley & Eglinton, It’s a long distance between Kennedy & New Lawrence West stations

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Walter-Lis/571716919 Walter Lis

    If this version of a heavy rail extension to the Bloor-Danforth is proposed, it would not be acceptable to Rob Ford nor Tim Hudak. I think it would be above ground, and Rob Ford wants it underground. Totally unacceptable to him.

    • Don River

      It would be underground.

      Since this proposal is expected to be tied to dedicated transit funding, Ford still might oppose it. No idea about Hudak, though his reaction is less important in his current position.

  • Longtime Scarborough resident

    I’m not sure what would happen under LRT scenario with the SRT shutdown. I have yet to see a TTC project completed on time (even escalator/elevator repairs) but let’s go with the 3 years. The bus bay platforms and kennedy concourse are jammed during rush hour (that without extra traffic from RT riders who wait on the upper platform). When SRT has signal issues during rush hour, the bus platforms cannot contain all the people and there is not enough room for the buses to manouvre in and out of the station. I predict either a dip in ridership or TTC may actually get some revenue out of that Kennedy station parking lot if they go with this plan.

  • Joe M

    Eglington Morningside needs an LRT! I can stand hearing this never ending debate when there are other areas which need transit too. What a joke

    • kEiThZ

      Building the Scarborough subway actually enables the Morningside LRT better. Eglinton can now run through Kennedy.

  • treptower

    Calm down people and wait for next month’s plan!

  • Bagmar

    I challenge the assumed speed of the LRT as compared to subway – the only time the LRT will reach maximum speed is its own right of way- not in a congested
    roadway where ist has to stop every 700-800 metres – be realistic!

    • Testu

      All of the proposed LRT lines have a dedicated ROW.

      LRTs are not streetcars. Please keep repeating this to yourself until you understand.

      The only time the LRTs interact with normal traffic is at-grade crossings.

      • Bagmar

        I’m not suggesting that they travel in the same path -quite the contrary – that is why the congestion will be unbearable when we lose 2 lanes of traffic to the LRT platforms and emergency vehicles
        will not be able to make left hand turns but will have to go to the next
        intersection, and wait to make a U-turn, and all of this chaos around
        the LRT , which will not be able to run at speeds any where near what is being suggested. The real rate will be about 23 km/hr which is much closer to the speed of a bus.

        • Testu

          Really? “chaos around the LRT”?

          Why don’t you calm down for a second and take a look at how dedicated ROWs already work on busy routes like St. Clair and Spadina. Both of those streets have on street parking as well and yet somehow traffic continues to flow, emergency vehicles are able to operate and the rail vehicles (streetcars in this case, not LRTs) are able to consistently move faster than buses on the same stretch.

          It’s possible to get from Dufferin to Yonge on St. Clair in less than 15 minutes (including the stop at St. Clair West station). Exactly how much faster is that trip on the subway?

          This isn’t magic. It isn’t going to cause chaos and rioting in the streets. It’s just above ground rail.

          • Bagmar

            You are living in a bubble – you need to talk to more people who use that area to get the real picture – it is an abysmal failure a far as commuters are concerned and anyone who lives in the area hates it – that doesn’t even take into account the problems that emergency vehicles face

          • Testu

            Thanks, but I use both Spadina and St. Clair regularly. I know how quick it is to get across town on St. Clair now because I take it to get to one of my clients. It’s considerably faster than it ever was before they put in the ROW. The biggest issue there is bunching.

            As far as its effect on the area, I suppose all those businesses that have moved into St. Clair since construction finished are just doomed? There certainly seem to be a lot of people out on the street, going into shops whenever I’m up there.

            If you’re talking about the minor inconvenience of going half a block in order to turn around (as opposed to just using a different route). Cry me a river. And unless you can point to a statistically significant increase in deaths due to delays in emergency services in the area it’s safe to say that emergency are able to navigate it just fine.

      • Bagmar

        Now repeat that to yourself!

    • Guest

      Did you look at the map? The LRT will run on the same path that the present SRT runs on. It will be on it’s own right of way and never runs on a roadway.

  • JC

    This extension will help. Not sure about you guys, but if you lived anywhere steeles to the north, brimley to the west, and morningside to the east, its faster to get to bloor and yonge going to scarborough town centre, RT to Kennedy, then switch to the subway right now by 10-20 minutes compared to take steeles bus, finch bus to finch station, or sheppard bus to don mills? A lot of people choose ride the bus longer just because they hate the transfer up and down the stairs with the SRT…..true fact. It will help transfer some of the ridership from yonge subway for sure.